I ask this question because it’s safe to say that the vast majority of the people that I’ve worked with simply didn’t get it. In fact, they weren’t even close to understanding it’s true value.
Most people would link it to those free lunches they’d get every now and then. And most managers would think they have work culture covered by providing those free lunches. (Let me let you in on a little secret – IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FREE FOOD OR DRINKS!!)
Even at times when I was experiencing the work environment from hell, my honest attempt to try and do something about the work culture was treated as if it was nothing important and almost a waste of time. And out of all the culture building activities talked about, the one the team really wanted was back massages in the office.
Are you freaking kidding me??
This suggestion alone made me give up hope.
How the hell was this going to improve relationships among team members that were strained, tense and awkward at best?
There were a lot of other culture building activities that were needed to help this team out that should’ve been considered before back massages! Had people known the value of what these activities could do for them.
Hey. If there weren’t issues bigger than Mount Everest then fine. As an added bonus why not consider back massages? But it wasn’t going to do anything to a team that was losing people almost on a weekly basis.
Based on this, you could argue that it’s hard to recognise the importance of work culture in a bad environment, especially if workers have never experienced anything better. But what really surprised me is that even when the environment was the best that I’ve experienced, colleagues were unable to recognise what made it great.
Don’t get me wrong, when things were great everyone was happy. It’s not that they didn’t feel happy. But it later become clear that some really didn’t have a clue of why they were so happy. And here’s one example for you.
It was a typical Friday except for the fact that an unplanned staff meeting had been called. I must admit I wasn’t worried. Everything had gone so well for me in this job I thought surely there’s nothing to be worried about. As we all sat around the boardroom table we listened diligently to our CEO who told us, then and there, that we were merging. The company was changing and nothing would be as it was. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing!
One person screamed out “Oh no!” Others listened on in silence taking in what this would possibly mean for them. But what I still remember vividly to this day is how one of my colleagues, as his very first questions, asked if our 3% annual increase in salary was at risk?
Out of all the things we were losing, for that to be top of mind, made it clear to me that this person really didn’t have a clue as to how good we had it and, more importantly, why it was so good.
I would’ve been willing to forfeit that raise for years in replace of the opportunities we had when working for that company, simply for it not to merge and remain how it was.
Blog Tip #31 –
“We don’t learn much when everything goes right. We learn most when things go wrong. I believe that there are two types of decisions – good decisions and lessons learned.” Simon Sinek.
What did you think about blog post #31?
What has your experience with work culture been like? What do you think it comes down to?
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Talk to you soon.